Monday, February 28, 2011
Come And Get It!
So it turns out that new experiences, not things, are the keys to personal happiness and satisfaction, according to a 2010 study out of Cornell University. I could do my own review of the study, but I wouldn't do any better than Stephen Messenger of Treehugger.com did last April. If you don't have time to read the short article (link below), the general idea is that experiences are less likely to be compared to the experiences of others, do not degrade over time, and provide one with a more internal sense of ownership than a product which is mearly posessed.
I'm left wondering what this means in regards to the development of new products and services. Particularly, I'm curious what this means in the digital domain, where the line between products and services is pretty thin. For instance, I consider Mint.com and its corresponding mobile app to be products, but its notifications and pro-active research algorithms (to help me find better loan rates, for instance) make it a pretty rich service. I guess my distinction is that a mobile or web app is a product because they have a form and take up digital space. In a sense, they are "digitally tangible". Conversely, services are much more ephemeral and intangible by nature - plus, to be overly simplistic, they serve you. To take this product-service relationship one step further, perhaps a digital service is one that provides value outside of the digital domain? There are lots of mobile apps that do this, from navigational apps to shopping assistance and restaurant reviews, but perhaps we haven't gone far enough into the real world.
This got me throwing ideas around about how our digital products could have an even greater real-world existance. From that, I came up with the concept for "Come And Get It". The basic idea behind the service would be that a person could essentially "unlock" a deal at a real-world establishment and trigger their friends to reap the benefits. Those that arrive fastest will receive the best deal, but a minimum amount of people would have to show up for the deal to go through. Essentially, it would be like a location-triggered, time-based, contact-driven version of Groupon. However, since it must take place in the real world, it could trigger a whole range of unique shopping behaviors, such as friends rushing to join each other in the aisles of the same store, or customers behaving like sales people, trying to get their fellow shoppers to buy a product. Might sound annoying or hectic if you're an uninterested customer, but what if you're an owner of a struggling store?
Interested? Hate this idea? Please comment and we can discuss...